I’m back again. My well ran dry and I have been dealing with several issues in my life that have taken my attention. Once dealt with, I had nothing to impart on this blog.
Today I return, not because I think I have anything much to say, but because I must. I’ve missed the conversation.
A couple of months ago I rediscovered R. L. Allan and Son, and I have spent the time since buying bibles in various translations. I have now in my
possession the Longprimer (KJV), the NIV Classic Reference Edition and the NASB SCR. The King James is black (as all King James bibles should be) the NIV is dark brown and the NASB is red (more on that later). The NIV is goatskin, the other two are
KJV Longprimer Click to see details
highland goatskin, softer and more supple than just goatskin. I was unable to get the NIV in highland goatskin. The differences are noticeable but not significant.
I will now take a small, but important, side road in our R. L. Allan bible tour:
Growing up, I believed that the only bible was an R. L. Allan King James, black, Moroccan leather (pebble grain) – without pictures, thumb indexes or red letter text.
NIV – Click for details
Anyone I saw with anything different I immediately recognized as new to the faith or not of the faith! I laugh at those early perceptions, they weren’t taught to me, I just picked it up by observation – EVERYBODY I knew, who was a believer, had the “right” kind of bible, so…
I remember one time at a breakfast bible study at Grandpa and Grandma’s home. Several of the ministers (workers) were there, and everyone read a verse or two of the study chapter around the table. One of the workers read from a different translation (probably the RSV). As he began reading, I remember looking up in shock and horror.
- NASB Click for details
Grandma caught my eye, read the distress in my expression, and quietly nodded to me her reassurance that it was alright – and I was calmed. I also felt a little bit wiser, knowing that different translations were OK, at least for breakfast bible studies.
All of my siblings, and all of my cousins and I eagerly awaited our 8th birthdays. Well, maybe the eldest of us, Kathy, Barbara, Clair and Deonne didn’t, but by the time the second wave of grandkids came “of age” we knew that on our 8th birthday we would receive a “zipper bible” from Grandpa and Grandma Bone! Black, King James, Moroccan leather – finer grained than the grown-up bibles – no red letters and no pictures (the zipper was an acceptable aberration for children – we knew it was acceptable because Grandpa and Grandma gave it to us).
zipper bible with the exact same zipper pull I had on mine.
Click for more details
Either Grandpa or Grandma would take time to carefully show us how to “break in” our new bible:
WASH YOUR HANDS!
Unzip your bible (only if it was a zippered bible, which it was when we were 8)
Hold the bible tightly together, with the spine on the table
Lay the covers on the table, gently pressing them down close to the spine
Take a few pages from either side, press them flat as you gently ran your fingers top to bottom near the spine.
Repeat the previous step until you reached the middle
Now your bible was “broken in” and it was OK to open it up and read it – something you DARE NOT do before breaking it in!
Having your zipper bible in your possession was proof positive that you were becoming a young man or young woman…you were at least 8, obviously. This bible lasted me well into my teens, nearly through high school, I believe. The stitching on the zipper had long since come apart. Small splits in the stitching had appeared and grown until one day I just tore the whole zipper out – after all, zippers were for 8 year olds, and no longer necessary for a big boy of 12. My folks bought me a new R.L. Allan bible in my late teens. I was looking at it last weekend, but the inscription from them was not dated, just “versed”. It is at home, and I am in Oklahoma City, and I cannot remember the verse Mom wrote on the flyleaf. I will update this post with a comment this weekend.
When browsing through the R. L. Allan website, thoughts of Grandpa Bone
Allan’s blue boxes
kept flooding my memory. He kept what I now know was an expensive stock of new R. L. Allan bibles, in their dark blue linen-textured cardboard boxes in the bottom shelf of the built-in china cabinet just to the right as you came in the door from the big utility room/porch. It was Grandpa’s bible drawer. I remember him sitting there with different ones, opening the boxes carefully, lifting the bibles out with respect, and showing the person the various features of that particular bible. I always marveled at Grandpa’s knowledge of the bible. He knew verses, passages (especially the Psalms), names, histories, details…he knew the bible. He also knew styles and covers and font size and reference styles and margins, and he always seemed to have a sober, kind and gentle recommendation for a particular individual’s needs. Grandpa sold the bibles at cost. It was something that he did – providing fine (I thought they were just regular) bibles to those who wanted them. It wasn’t until he was gone that I realized what a special service he quietly performed for God’s people. It wasn’t until I started looking for an R. L. Allan bible recently that I appreciated the investment Grandpa had tucked into his bible drawer.
I have learned recently that R. L. Allan and Son is generally acclaimed as the publisher of the finest bibles in the world. And I always thought they were just regular bibles! I always imagined that R. L. Allan probably knew almost as much about bibles and The Bible and Grandpa did, and they might have a fine conversation on the topic. The son, I figured, was not quite there yet, and would be obliged to listen.
Now, back on the main road. As I continued to be drawn back to R. L. Allan’s website, and to Evangelical Bibles, Allan’s only “official” distributer, as far as I know, and to the Bible Design blog – all of which I found by Google-searching “R.. L. Allan bibles” – I determined to own various translations of the bible from R. L. Allan and Son. I wanted these fine bibles and a concordance for my desk at home, so I can read the various translations when I am studying in depth. After deciding on, and ordering these bibles, I realized I needed a few bibles to take on the road with me also. So I ordered 3 smaller, compact bibles for travel.
Before I talk further about the bibles I have ordered, I want to tell about my adventure with the red NASB highland goatskin bible. I wanted to buy this beautiful, red bible as a gift. But as I tried to order it, I discovered to my dismay that both Allan and Evangelical were sold out of that bible. Now, on the Allan site I found a note when I opened the details for the blue version, stating that there were very limited copies of this bible available, so I ordered it immediately. Red, blue….blue would do. Red was my first choice, but blue would do. So I ordered. The next day I received the email I didn’t want to see, telling me that they were completely sold out of the blue bible as well. I was disappointed to say the very least. I kept checking back on both sites, hoping to see that one of them was now available – to no avail. I also checked, from time to time, on the internet at large for copies for sale, even used copies. Imagine my surprise when I found a red one for sale. Used, but in new condition and still in the box! I ordered it immediately. When it was delivered, I found that it was as advertised, beautiful and in new condition. Unfortunately, I then found out that both Allan and Evangelical offers embossing services. I wanted the recipient’s name embossed on this lovely bible, so I sent emails to both companies. Sadly, I have yet to hear back from Evangelical. Because of the pressures of the season, I will grant them grace. I did receive a response from the CEO of Allan and Son, Nicholas Gray. He suggested, avoiding the expanses of the Atlantic Ocean by getting the embossing done by Evangelical. (I did not want just anybody to emboss this bible. I wanted the work done by someone familiar with the superior quality of the Allan bibles.) I then asked Mr. Gray if he had a publishing date for the next run of the blue NASB, his reply:
“We have one only copy if the crimson edition of NASB1R left, but no blue edition. Is this of interest to you?
Of course it was! I immediately ordered it, embossed, and expedited shipping to insure delivery in time for Christmas! (I just learned today that it was shipped yesterday, and will arrive tomorrow!) Then, early last Sunday morning, I discovered that Evangelical had just received their shipment of NASB bibles! I immediately ordered the blue copy I wanted for myself…so I now possess an extra copy of the very lovely red NASB bible. Hmmmm, if it works as a gift for one, it might work as a gift for another, no?
Now, for the copies I have on order – first my “desk” copies:
ESV Click for more details
ESV – tan highland goatskin (after I ordered, I saw the brown with tri-color ribbons. I was tempted, but I resisted)
- HCSB Click for further information
HCSB – brown highland goatskin (I have ordered different colors for each version, but I had to duplicate brown and black)
NASB Blue-currently out of stock
NASB – blue highland goatskin – I love the red ribbons with the blue binding.
NRSV Click for more information
NRSV – black highhland goatskin
NKJV – red; a beautiful red highland goatskin for the NEW King James Version. I’m not sure if that violates my Black for King James rule or not, but I absolutely needed a red bible somewhere in the list! This will not arrive until sometime early next year, and I can find exactly zero pictures of this bible. but imagine the Longprimer in the red highland goatskin, and I think you will be close.
Cruden’s Concordance Click for more information
Cruden’s Concordance – black goatskin
Different bible in Sea-green. 3rd from top
Click for more information
And one not yet ordered: NLT – sea-green Alhambra goatskin, which Mr. Gray assures me is virtually identical to highland goatskin. This edition will not be published until June or July.
The traveling copies:
Ruby KJV Click for more information
KJV – Ruby edition, black highland goatskin
NASB – brown goatskin (this is the Cambridge Pitt Minion copy. I am not sure if it is an Allan binding or not. I guess I’ll find out). I can find no pictures of this bible, but there is oredering information here.
Click for more information
ESV – sea-green Alhambra goatskin, which Mr. Gray assures…oh, I already told you that part.
Finally, to enhance my studies, or to help prepare for this blog, or…well, really because I think they are fine:
Click for more information
Journal – black goatskin
click for more information
Pocket journal – black highland goatskin
Aaaaaah – so now you know about my recent indulgence. My Christmas gifts to myself. But more importantly, MOST importantly, my detour down a certain, special memory lane with Grandpa.